New pitchers in Padres system finishing winter work

Buchter, Baumann, Humber pitching in off-season

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Latin American winter league seasons are winding down.

The regular season in the Dominican Republic ended Dec. 21. The Mexican and Venezuelan leagues complete their seasons on Dec. 29. And the Puerto Rico season ends Jan. 4.

Most players in the Padres system playing winter ball have already returned home. But several recent additions to the Padres family are popping up in the statistics for the first time.

Two examples are 28-year-old, left-handed relief pitchers Ryan Buchter and Buddy Baumann. Buchter is 3-0 with 10 saves in as many chances with a 0.72 earned run average in 23 appearances for Culiacan in Mexico. Buchter has allowed 14 hits and10 walks with 35 strikeouts in 25 innings. Baumann, who the Padres signed to a Major League contract earlier this week, had a 4.50 earned run average in five appearances for La Guaira in Venezuela.

On the right-handed side, Phil Humber, 33, was 1-2 with a 3.18 ERA in four starts covering 17 innings for Gigantes in the Dominican Republic. And Luis Diaz, 23, is 1-1 with a 1.71 ERA in 11 starts for Caracas in Venezuela. Diaz has allowed 43 hits and 21 walks with 43 strikeouts in 58 innings.

Catcher Rocky Gale, 27,who took over behind the plate for Austin Hedges with Escogido in the Dominican Republic, finished with a .315 batting average in 20 games in the Dominican Republic.

Several other performances of note:

--Infielder River Stevens, 23, is hitting .300 in 20 games with Canberra in Australia.

--Infielder Luis Urias, 18, is hitting .280 (30-for-107) with Obregon in Mexico.

--Center fielder Manuel Margot, 21, finished his play in the Dominican Republic with a .218 average with three homers and 11 RBIs in 25 games for the playoff-bound Toros. Meanwhile, Rymer Liriano, 24, finished the Dominican season with a .196 average (20-for-102) with three homers and 13 RBIs in 34 games for playoff-bound Licey.